Poughkeepsie…In a letter today to New York State Assembly representatives from Dutchess County, County Executive William R. Steinhaus urged their co-sponsorship of Assembly bill A.1604, a bill that would CAP Medicaid contributions from local county governments at the 2003 level.
The County Executive said in the letter, "It is imperative for the sake of counties throughout New York State that Medicaid costs imposed by the state are taken off the backs of county property taxpayers. 2005 costs are expected to exceed fifty million dollars this year."
Medicaid is a joint federal/state program providing the largest source of funding for healthcare for the needy. New York is unique in shifting a large share of the cost of the program to county government. Counties in New York are required to pay 25% of Medicaid services. Only 20 states pass along any portion of Medicaid to counties. Of those states, New York shifts the highest burden of any state to its county taxpayers. New York’s Medicaid program is also the most expensive in the nation. Spending per recipient in New York nearly exceed those of the states California and Texas combined.
Steinhaus stated, "Without reform by the state legislature, Dutchess County will be unable to maintain core services to youth, the elderly, and the mentally ill, maintain appropriate highway infrastructure, or rely upon necessary public safety and security measures within our communities."
He called on local representatives "to act now to relieve county budgets of this mandate."